The Cordyceps fungus is a very interesting and unusual one. By nature, it is parasitic because it grows and thrives on a species of caterpillar and later eats the very host that it grew upon.
The insect’s larva provides the base of the mushroom’s form. Its colour can be anything from dark brown to black and it attaches itself to the insect and can grow to about six inches long.
Upon reaching maturity the Cordyceps fungus will devour more than 90 per cent of the infected insect. At this stage, they will swell and grow to become around 300–500 mg in weight.
People first came across Cordyceps and their potential by watching animals eat the wild fungus and growing stronger in the process. The first people to use Cordyceps were farmers and herders.
They started to crush the fungus to a powder form and used it to make teas and tonics.
Improved milk production and livestock reproductive capacity benefited from the first uses of these tonics. Subsequently, people learned how to preserve these benefits by drying Cordyceps in the sun.
There are many supposed benefits of Cordyceps usage.
Chief among these are anti-inflammatory benefits and the ability to positively impact the immune system.
It is also reputed to be able to fight oxidation damage and encourage the growth of protective cells to prevent mutations (like cancerous cells) and infections.
Some studies have shown that Cordyceps can even act as a natural cancer treatment, preventing the growth of tumours in the lungs and across the skin.
A further benefit of Cordyceps supplements is in restoring the immune system to normal levels after serious infections or illnesses.
They can also help control excessive inflammation tissue damage and autoimmune disorders all at an accelerated healing rate.
Finally, lab studies have shown Cordyceps can perform as a mild stimulant to combat stress and fatigue whilst enhancing energy levels.
A good deal of Cordyceps research is enhanced athletic performance and, unsurprisingly, this is attracting huge attention. Further research, also carried out, involves virus immunity and longevity promotion.
A list of Cordyceps benefits (in addition to fighting cancer) is in the treatment of:
– colds, coughs, influenza
– respiratory infections such as bronchitis
– kidney problems
– reproductive problems and sexual problems
– urine issues and bladder infections
– poor circulation
– heart disease, high cholesterol and irregular heartbeats
– hepatitis B
– low circulation
– liver issues
– ME (chronic fatigue syndrome, low energy)
– muscle weakness
Benefits of Cordyceps
- It can improve liver function and detoxify
Cordyceps are reputed to help improve liver function, especially for those with liver damage caused by, for example, Hepatitis B. The liver is responsible for removing toxins from the body so that improved liver function by way of Cordyceps use can benefit the immune system.
Research carried out by the Department of Analytical Chemistry at the Academy of Chinese Sciences has established that Cordyceps can positively influence the following:-
- oxidative stress
- energy metabolism levels
- amino acid, protein and choline metabolism
Tests carried out over an eight week period on mice (using Cordyceps daily) showed significant improvements in vis-à-vis metabolic disorders, liver disease and heart damage.
Positive effects on both the liver and heart are because a healthier liver also allows for improved digestion and utilisation of fatty acids. Therefore, Cordyceps is known to help improve triglyceride levels and benefit heart health.
It can enhance immune function and have anti-ageing effects
Various studies have determined Cordyceps can positively affect immune function and provide benefits to the respiratory, cardiovascular, endocrine and reproductive systems.
Cordycepsability to help fight cancer and immunological disorders is because they contain polysaccharides, cyclosporines and modified nucleosides.
Studies carried out using animals have shown the ability to heal other autoimmune diseases such as leaky gut syndrome.
In addition, anti-tumour activity in various types of cancers has been noted with either the use of lab cultivated or natural Cordyceps supplements.
It can help restore defence mechanisms and reduce oxidation
There is evidence to suggest that using Cordyceps supplements during or after chemotherapy treatment can reduce symptoms and improve the body’s defence mechanisms.
In addition, it’s been noted that users can help restore normal fat mobilisation. It also reduces the oxidation damage which occurs with almost all chronic diseases from heart disease to cognitive decline.
4. It can help with anti-ageing
Research carried out by Beijing University’s School of Pharmaceutical Sciences has established that Cordyceps supplements had the effect of slowing ageing on mice whilst improving the activity of antioxidants. All results and outcomes tended towards the conclusion that the use of Cordyceps supplementation can be effective for improving brain function and the immune system.
As well as the functioning of reproductive and sexual functions.
It can help with respiratory problems
Further research has led shown that Cordyceps can help to fight respiratory infections and illnesses such as chronic bronchitis, asthma and coughs.
Taking Cordyceps supplements would seem to improve detoxification as well as circulation. This has the positive effect that the amount of oxygen getting to the lungs is increased.
Increasing the number of T-helper cells (those that fight infections)whilst not increasing T-suppressor cells are benefits that animal studies have been able to show.
As such, Cordyceps can help speed up the time it takes to fight off illness post-infection or illness.
It can help improve athletic performance
A recent study carried in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine has shown that Cordyceps Sinesis supplements led to improved exercise performance and widespread markers of wellness in older adults. Cordyceps is thought to be an energising adaptogen (like other superfood herbs such as Macca or cocoa).
This can help combat fatigue, prevent weakness and reduce muscle aches.
During exercise, one of the body’s primary sources of energy is ATP. Several studies have suggested that Cordyceps usage can lead to increased physical abilities along with more stamina and greater endurance because these elements boost the supply of ATP. Cordyceps contains a type of nucleic acid that is a part of the make-up of ATP.
A further recent study (carried out by the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology) discovered that greater ATP production allowed athletes to undertake intense workouts. It also lengthened the time they could remain active at an increased level.
It can help in the fight against Diabetes
One of the main benefits of Cordyceps use is in fighting Diabetes. Two of the active ingredients are d-mannitol cordycepin and 3-deoxyadenosine.
These are known to help, partially, in promoting physiological actions which aid in the control of insulin production and blood sugar levels.
Furthermore, Cordyceps supplements given to both normal and diabetic mice, have helped fight hypoglycemic effects in normal and diabetic mice. It is reasonable to assume that Cordyceps may have its uses in being able to treat diabetes naturally.
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